A DIFFERENT STORY. From the beginning.

12.     THE ZIGGURATS

On the subject of the ziggurats, the Sumerian literature is full of allusions but short on specifics. Details of the ‘peculiar wisdom of the stars’ – the heat source – are only revealed later, inscribed inside the pillars of stone in Egypt.

A ziggurat was a large, stepped ‘wedding cake’ edifice, constructed of locally sourced baked clay bricks cemented together with mortar of bitumen (pitch), with an outer skin of stronger fired-clay bricks. There was no stone at all along the Euphrates. The archetype Great Ziggurat of Ur, near modern Basra, was 64 x 45 metres at the base and about 30 metres high. The ruins were excavated by English archaeologist Leonard Woolley from 1923, and the present surviving structure is thought to have originated in the pre-historic Ubaid period going back to 5000BC.  But it has been built – rebuilt – and restored several times down the centuries; most recently during the reign of Saddam Hussein.

There were once numerous other ziggurats along the Euphrates but most have crumbled into low mounds of clay – including the mound of Til Turakhi built by Terah and Abraham at Harran in Syria (now Turkey).

In conventional scholarly commentaries, the ziggurats were branded as ‘temples’, which was a convenient label for almost any ancient ruin. Likewise, statues were labeled as ‘gods’ or ‘high-priests’ and commentaries would have us believe the ancient people spent their whole life on arcane religious rituals. But it was not so. The Sumero-Babylonian figure Shamash was labelled the ‘sun god’, but his name literally meant ‘lord of the great light’, or in modern terms perhaps ‘CTO of Light Co’, or ‘Minister for Energy’. Literal translations do not indicate rabid religiosity but on the contrary, suggest some sort of technology – a technology that was not understood so it was derided by 19th-century scholars as Chaldean magic or pagan astrology.

The ziggurats rejoiced in several names – and translations – including ETEMENNIGURU, (Temple whose foundation creates aura); DUR-ANKI, (Union of Heaven and Earth which generates lifted beams of light); EBABBAR, (House of the Rising Sun), and EGISNUGAL, (House Causing Light). A scale model of the Ziggurat of Ur, excavated by Woolley, showed an interior chamber – referred to in the literature as an interior like a maze, a twisted thread, a thing unknown to man. The phrase ‘unknown to man’ was also used elsewhere (in Egyptian literature) as a stock expression meaning not understood by man, where ‘man’ was mere indigenous man as distinct from the lords.

Elsewhere the ziggurat was called ‘the great mountain, the Ekur of Enil, the lofty dwelling place, the lapis lazuli house [containing] the precious brilliants found in remote mountains’. [1]

Lapis lazuli is a blue crystalline stone found almost uniquely in the Hindu Kush in northeast Afghanistan – hence the tag ‘remote mountains’. The only other known sources are near Lake Baikal in central-eastern Russia, and in the Chilean Andes.

These ‘azure crystalline brilliants’ were what Genesis struggled to translate as ‘stars’ – that Josephus said the lords ‘knew the wisdom of’, and that were used to ‘make’ the great lights.

And elsewhere in Babylonian literature these mysterious ‘beings’ who made the light were also called ‘the seven born in the mountain of Mashu’; in EURIMINANKI (House of the Seven Spheres of Heaven and Earth). [2] Finally, the EGISNUGAL (House Causing Light) was also referred to as the Harsag zalazalag (peak which emits the brilliance) which had a Dirga (dark glowing chamber), which generated a Melam (awesome luminosity or emanation), which was supplied by Magururnuabzu (ships for the ores of primeval substance), from Badtibira (bright land where the ores are made final).

It all had something to do with the crystalline lapis lazuli, but also with the ‘union of heaven and earth’. That wasn’t just a rote phrase but a standard expression found elsewhere in Egyptian literature and in the Hebrew Old Testament. Later, Socrates was executed for teaching the secrets of ‘heaven and earth’ to the youth of Athens. The phrase must have had some meaning that we don’t yet understand.

All of these strange terms were incomprehensible and inadmissible to early European [Christian] scholars, so they were ignored or classified as the evil alchemy of Chaldean magicians, or idolatrous worship of the Moon.

But the literal reality is clearer now. The lords – somehow – used spheres of crystalline lapis lazuli ‘stars’ and other unknown ‘ores of primeval substance’ shipped in from a refining centre, to generate a glowing ‘aura’ of light energy from within the interior of the ziggurat, the house causing light.  It’s not yet evident exactly how they did that. But as Josephus recorded in the Antiquities of the Jews, the lords knew the wisdom of the ‘stars’ and they inscribed it inside the pillars of stone for posterity – so that it might not be lost to mankind. That wisdom is now known as the Pyramid Texts found within the stone pyramids at Saqqara, on the Nile south of Cairo.

For all their technology the Sumerian lords must have been disappointed with the ziggurats. Earlier they had experimented with building pyramids in Mesoamerica and they knew they needed two ingredients –access to stone and plenty of water. It must have been a setback to find no stone at all along the Euphrates, forcing them to build in baked brick and fired clay – cemented with bitumen.  Surely not sufficiently refractory to withstand strong internal heat. Good but not sufficient.

That is why the ziggurats became merely the Temples of the Moon – because they generated only the pale light of the Moon. It needed a technology shift to Egyptian stone pyramids to fully manifest the potential of smouldering solar energy in the Temples of the Sun along the Nile.

As an aside, in a later generation in Sumeria, in his birthplace at Ur, Abraham son of Terah was taught about the spirits of the lords and learned the secrets of the eternal fire of the brick kiln. He experimented with turning up the heat but caused a ‘fire in the temple’ which killed his brother and, oddly, all the ravens in the district. That led to Terah and his extended family being expelled from Ur to Harran in Syria (now Turkey) where they built another ziggurat; and later Abraham moved to Canaan where he built a stone ‘altar of YHWH’ (the Hebrew ineffable unknowable god), and even later travelled to Egypt where he instructed the Pharaoh in the wisdom of mathematics and astronomy (the stars).

Everywhere Abraham went he was curiously followed by a trail of plague, famine, distemper, barrenness, and oddly dead birds. [3]  More of that later.

When they recognised that the brick ziggurats were inadequate the Sumerian lords dispatched a branch of the family to Egypt to implement a technology upgrade to stone pyramids. They sailed back down the Persian Gulf, around the Arabian Peninsula and up the Red Sea to the port of Quseir- which presents the shortest possible distance to trek across the desert to the Nile at Luxor. The immigrant ancient Egyptian lords did not come down the Nile from the Mediterranean; they came from the east across the desert from the Red Sea at the shortest possible crossing point along the Hammamat Wadi from the port of AlQusayr (Quseir) to Qena and Luxor (ancient Thebes) on the Nile. Just as modern cruise-ship tourists take a side-trip today from Safaga.

The earliest ancient Egyptian ‘lords’ were immigrants from Sumeria; that was all recognised and documented by early Egyptologists in the early 1900s. Their pottery featured sailing-boat motifs in the Sumerian style; they left traces of their trek across the desert in stone inscriptions along the way in Wadi Hammamat ; and excavations at the earliest settlements at Thebes and a little further upstream at Hierakonpolis revealed sculpture, jewellery, cylinder seals and building features – all unmistakably in the Sumerian style.

There can be no doubt at all that these immigrant lords really were physically distinct from the indigenous population of the period.

Pioneering European scholars of the late 19th and early 20th-century stated as much in unequivocal plain English – as if it were not even a matter of examination or contention. Published reviews concluded that the evidence supported legendary accounts that ‘one element of the Egyptian population was of extraneous origin’ – a ‘superior’ race of different ethnic origin who introduced the unified monarchy, letters and metals – of Sumero-Babylonian origin. Skeletal evidence confirmed two distinct body types. The tomb of the royal vizier Yuya in the Valley of Kings (at Luxor) was opened in 1905 revealing a coffin about eight feet long containing a mummified body described as ‘tall, with white hair, a great hooked nose …and very aquiline Semitic features’. Sir Flinders Petrie distinguished two races, the [foreign] aquiline and the [local] ‘snouty’; Sir Arthur Keith noted the pre-dynastic Egyptians, like early Mesopotamians, had large, long narrow heads differing from the native races; Professor Walter Emery concluded the aristocracy of early Egypt and Sumeria had skulls of a greater size and bodies larger than those of the natives – differences so distinct that any suggestion of common origin was impossible. Establishment Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner was compelled to admit the evidence of ‘a different race appears to be a well-established fact’. About 1956 Dr D.E. Derry examined all the skulls and related evidence and concluded, ‘with all emphasis’, that another race occupied Egypt in early dynastic times – with larger, elongated skulls. Of a set of skulls recovered from Shurafa, Derry wrote that they were not of Egyptian origin and difficult to account for other than by a strong alien element. [4]

Everyone knew the early Kings were from Sumeria. Egyptian records, which were otherwise regarded as complete and accurate, did not record the specific builders of the pyramids, but rather that they were built by pre-Egyptian lords, from before the man-Pharaohs.  They were built by the original royal ‘monogenes’, children of Aeneas, before the mere man-hybrid ‘followers’. Very much later (in the 1300s BC) Pharaoh Amenhop III sent back to Babylon for his wives (plural); as did his son Akhenaten (Tutankhamun’s father) who reverted to the Abrahamic tradition of sending back to his homeland a Semitic wife, rather than a local Egyptian – a wife who incidentally also encouraged his unpopular reversion to the old observance of the abstract ‘god’ of Aten, the light of the sun. [5]

Some of the language of the early Egyptologists may now be regarded as politically incorrect; nevertheless, it remains firm and clear. The early lords of Egypt’s Old Kingdom period were immigrants from Sumeria, Semitic children of Aeneas, wise men from the east. They settled in Hierakonpolis, the first capital city of upper (southern) Egypt where their first recorded tasks were to subdue the natives and to raise the heat of the ‘sacred fire’.

However, their first attempt to turn up the heat was unsuccessful, resulting in a meltdown.

[1] Kramer, The Sumerians

[2] Magan text of the Babylonian Enuma Elish; Babylonia, http://www.piney.com/BabcathEncy.html

[3] Books of Jasher, Jubilees, Genesis; Josephus, Antiquities

[4] Maspero’s History of Egypt; Naville, The Funerary papyrus of Iouiya; Petrie, Ten Years’ Digging in Egypt ; Keith, Al-Ubaid ; Emery, Archaic Egypt; Gardiner, The Egyptians; Petrie & Mackay Heliopolis, Kafr Ammar & Shurafa.

[5] Vyse, Operations carried out at the pyramids of Giza. 1840: Brugsch, Egypt Under the Pharaohs

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